Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Good holiday gifts

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I’ll make my usual offer of donating 30% of the price of my popular Afghan Hound memoir, Baltho, The Dog Who Owned a Man, and 20% of any of my other books, to any good cause, BUT ONLY WHEN you order directly from me on my site. I have no way of tracking otherwise. I’ve made this offer earlier. Please remember that it’s a standing offer. Just be sure to tell me when you order what you want me to donate to. www.thomasrameywatson.com/edit

These popular books make good gifts, by the way. Some buy extras to give to charitable events, fund-raising drives, and so on.

The books are also available on amazon.com and from other online outlets and local bookstores. www.thomasrameywatson.com/edit

These popular books make good gifts, by the way. Some buy extras to give to charitable events, fund-raising drives, and so on.

The books are also available on amazon.com and from other online outlets and local bookstores. BalthocovericonsizeLoveThreads_COVER_LSTRWatson_NecessityOfSymbols_cover

The False Equation of Atheism and Intellectual Sophistication

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
from Beyond the argument that faith in God is irrational—and therefore illegitimate

In America, which sociologists often describe as a uniquely religious country compared with the rest of the Western world, a vast majority of people have faith. According to Pew, 86 percent of Millennials, or people aged 18-33, say they believe in God, and 94 percent of people 34 and older say the same. It’s true that a growing group say they’re “not certain” about this belief, and it’s also true thataffiliation with formal religious institutions is declining. But in terms of pure belief, self-described atheists and agnostics are a small minority, making up only six percent of the population.

The Western world in particular is probably less religious than it was 150 years ago, and the dynamics of belief and observance have certainly become more complex—the growing number of people who are unaffiliated with a specific religion is especially fascinating. But if the age of atheism started in 1882 as Watson claims, most people still haven’t caught on.

The Age of Atheists will likely stay confined to certain intellectual circles: The casual philosopher, the dogmatic non-believer, the coffee-table book collector. But insofar as its argument represents a broader pathology in contemporary conversations about belief, this book matters. Most people form their beliefs and live their lives somewhere in the middle of the so-called “culture divide” that outspoken atheists and believers shout across. The more these shouters shout, the more public discourse veers away from the subtle struggle of the average person’s attempt to be human.

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Is Religion Inherently Violent?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

In her new book, Fields of Blood, Karen Armstrong argues against the idea that faith fuels wars.

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The point, once again, is fairly straightforward: Humans start wars and slaughter their enemies and blow themselves up for complicated reasons. For a book with such an abundance of historical facts and analysis, Fields of Blood seems to be making a simple argument at an ambitiously macroscopic level—it’s an inevitably overwhelming sprint through nearly 7,000 years of history.

But maybe that’s the point: Humans talk in frameworks. People see the world through cultural associations and narratives of history, even if they’re not apparent; that’s why the attendees of Armstrong’s book talks can intellectually understand that religion hasn’t caused all the major wars in history while still almost subconsciously believing religion to be inherently violent. Fields of Blood can’t debunk the rhetoric about religion that has built up over decades, but “the point is to sow a little seed of doubt, to muddy the waters,” Armstrong told me. Perhaps that’s all one book can hope to do.

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We Borrowed a Shelter Dog to Go Hiking. You Can — And Totally Should — Too

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Wonderful idea. More.

Webster’s Finest Forgotten Words

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

October 16 is World Dictionary Day, marking the birthday of the great American lexicographer Noah Webster. Born in Connecticut in 1758, Webster published his first dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, in 1806, but it was his two-volume American Dictionary of the English Language published in 1828 (when he was 70 years old) that earned him his place in history as the foremost lexicographer of American English.

The statistics alone speak for themselves: Webster’s American Dictionary took him 28 years to complete. In preparation he learned 26 languages, including Old English, Ancient Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit. The final draft listed and defined 70,000 words, more than any other dictionary in history (and 30,000 more than Samuel Johnson’s dictionary had almost a century earlier). 1 in every 6 of Webster’s words had never been listed in a dictionary before; as a dictionary of American English, he radically chose to include a whole new vocabulary of emerging Americanisms like squash, skunk, hickory, chowder and applesauce for the very first time. And he famously took the opportunity to push through his ideas on English spelling reform – some of which took (center, color, honor, ax), and some of which didn’t (dawter, wimmen, cloke, tung).

Despite all of his efforts, Webster’s dictionary sold just 2,500 copies on its publication and he was compelled to mortgage his home in New Haven to fund a second edition in 1840. Three years later, having never quite gained the recognition his work deserved in his lifetime, he died at the age of 84. Today however, as both a literary and scholarly achievement Webster’s 1828 dictionary is widely regarded as both the first truly comprehensive dictionary of American English, and as one of the most important dictionaries in the history of our language. So to mark World Dictionary Day – and to celebrate what would be Webster’s 256th birthday – here are 26 of some of the most curious, most surprising and most obscure words from Webster’s Dictionary in one handy A to Z.

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DR. SANJAY GUPTA: When Illness Triggers Depression

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

For people diagnosed with a physical condition or coping with chronic illness, depression can be a common complication. According to figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50 percent of asthma patients suffer from depressive symptoms, one in six people who have had a heart attack have major depression, and people with diabetes are twice as likely to be depressed.

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As John Lehrmann, MD, chairman of the psychiatry department at the Medical College of Wisconsin points out, pain associated with an illness can cause depression. “There’s no question that we understand pain is associated with increased risk of depression, and many chronic illnesses cause pain,” he said. However, even when a patient doesn’t have painful symptoms, “living with a chronic illness can affect your sense of who you are. It adds a level of stress to what you already have to live with each day.”

Depression often goes undiagnosed because it can share symptoms with the illness that triggered it, such as changes in sleeping and eating patterns or general fatigue. Fortunately, as Dr. Lehrmann noted, primary care practices are increasingly integrating mental health screening and treatment into their clinics.

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Atkinson: I Love My Husband, But Here’s Why I Want to Cheat

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

I was afraid of love. I know it might look like I was looking for love, but I was really following what A Course in Miracles describes as “the ego’s dictate”: seek and do not find.

What drove this attraction, as it has done many others before, was a hidden belief that love is dangerous. That if I fully dive into my love for my husband, it will engulf me, swallow me whole. There’ll be no “me” left. Just like when I was a young girl and my mum’s alcoholism drowned the whole family in her sorrows.

What drove this attraction was the possibility that I might be deeply, unwaveringly loveable. That it might actually be possible to be in love, on purpose and successful.

What drove this attraction was a subconscious drive, handed down through generations of women in my family, to sabotage happiness and push love away. I’m one of the lucky ones, married to my soul mate. This cannot possibly last. I must create trouble at base camp.

The work I live by and teach reminds me daily that I have a choice about who I want to be in the middle of my struggle. Deny what is happening inside of me, and I set myself up for a fall.

Tell the truth, and I make way for love.

So I shared it with Nige. All of it. It was hard. I felt swamped with shame. But I did it anyway. I probably saved my marriage in the process, and I’ll do it again if I have to.

I want to cheat on my husband some days.

But I want to know him, and to be known by him, more than I want to prove my fears right.

And that, my friends, is why I tell the truth.

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What the CDC says about cats and dogs and Ebola

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Some helpful information for many of us.

Scientists Say ‘Infidelity Radar’ Is Real, And It Works In Minutes

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

You may be oblivious to your partner’s cheating ways, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is. In fact, a fascinating new study suggests that strangers can quickly spot a cheater just by watching how couples get along.

“People can determine whether complete strangers were cheaters or non-cheaters by simply watching them interact for a short period of time,” Dr. Nathaniel Lambert, an assistant professor at Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life and the lead author of the study, told The Huffington Post in an email.

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The 5 Skills That Will Increase Your Happiness

Monday, October 13th, 2014

At Happify, we’re translating the latest cutting-edge research into fun and interactive activities and games that help you build your happiness skills and form life-changing habits. Optimism, self-confidence, gratitude, hope, compassion, purpose, empathy—these are all qualities that anyone can own. You just have to learn how. And doing so will change your life.

Happify’s S.T.A.G.E. framework helps you build five key happiness skills: Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give, and Empathize.

Good article. More.

Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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